Skip to main content

Full text of "My Country And My People"

See other formats

314          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

the right. On its back we made rugged square lines like those
in the painting of Ni Ytinlin, so that the whole looked like a
rocky precipice overhanging a river.  On one side we made
a hollow place which we filled with mud and on which we
planted multi-leaf white duckweed. On the rocks we planted
dodder.   This took us quite a few days to finish.   In late
autumn the dodder grew all over the hill, like wistarias
hanging down from a rock. The red dodder flowers made a
striking contrast to the white duckweed, which had grown
luxuriantly, too, from the pond underneath.  Looking at it,
one could imagine oneself transported to some fairy region.
We put this under the eaves, and discussed between ourselves
where we should put a pavilion, where we should put a
farmer's hut, and where we should put a stone inscription,
"Where petals drop and waters flow,"   And Yiin further
discussed with me where we could build our home, where we
could fish, and where we would have to jump across, all so
absorbed as if we were moving into the little imaginary
universe to live.  One night two cats were fighting for food
and it fell down from the eaves, broken into pieces, basin and
all.  I sighed and said, "The gods seem to be jealous even
of such a little effort of our own." And we both shed tears.

What distinguishes a home from a public building is the
personal touch that we give it, and the time and thought we
spend on it. Home designs and interior decorations are not
something that we can buy outright from an architect or a
first-class firm, and it is only when this spirit of leisure and
tender loving care exists that living at home can become an
art and a pleasure. Both Shen Fu and Li Liweng show this
tender love for the small things of life, and give ingenious advice
on the training of flowers, the arrangement of flowers in vases,
the use of courtyards, the art of perfuming, the art of making
windows look out on a superb view that could go into a painting,
the hanging of scrolls, the arrangement of chairs, including
Li Liweng3s invention of a heated desk with charcoal burning
iHiderneatii so as to keep the feet warm in winter. It would be
manifestly impossible to go into all these details of interior
decoration, Suffice it to say that in the arrangement of court-